If you were required to give a blood sample during your DUI arrest, only half of the blood sample was sent to a forensic lab to be analyzed. The other half is required, by law, to be properly stored for at least a year. This gives you and your DUI lawyer the chance to have the sample tested independently by a lab of your choosing. This is known as a blood test “split.”
Splitting the blood sample can help you substantially. If the results from the new lab show a lower BAC (blood alcohol level) than the original test, or if they do not show the drug(s) that the original test showed, you may be able to get the blood test results thrown out. In many cases this means the prosecutor has no case against you.
Why would two labs show two different blood test results?
Labs make mistakes—and so do the technicians who gather and store the blood samples in the first place. The most common problems are:
- Fermentation in the blood
- Contamination of the sample after it’s collected
- Accidentally switching or mixing your blood sample with someone else’s
In some cases these mistakes could cause drugs to show up that you never took, or show very high BAC levels even though you were not drunk.
These mistakes are surprisingly common, and they can lead to dramatic errors. For example, in 2012 a Colorado state lab had to re-test 1,700 blood samples after they found out that an employee had not followed proper testing procedures. Many of the samples turned out to have very different BAC levels than the original tests claimed.
How do I request a blood test “split” in my DUI case?
Every DUI defendant has the right to do this. Your DUI lawyer will file a motion with the judge requesting the split. The judge will grant the motion unless there are extraordinary circumstances not to, and your lawyer can choose a trusted independent lab that is not run by the state.
If the state cannot find your blood sample, doesn’t have enough blood to turn over, or produces a contaminated sample, that will automatically work in your favor. If they do provide a sample, then you can proceed to have it tested and see if the results help your case.
What if the results from the new test are worse than the original? Can I hurt my own case?
No. Sometimes the tests results will back up the original test, and sometimes they might even show a higher BAC than what the prosecutor reported. But you do not have to present this evidence against yourself. This evidence belongs exclusively to the defense and, unless you choose to bring it up, it’s completely private. It cannot be used against you.
Have you been charged with DUI? We can connect you with an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer and get you a FREE consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call (310) 862-0199 and get your free consultation today.